Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fragmenta liturgica

One of the novelties cooked up in the RC liturgical reforms is the educational address to the faithful, right in the middle of the rite. On the surface, it is a form of connection between the priest and the people. But it accomplishes just the opposite. It emphasizes even more the difference between the cheerleader and the crowd. It has a way of insulting the congregation by assuming that it must be invited to where it already is or have things explained to it which it should know or having itself explained to itself.

There is a huge difference between a liturgy which holds you and carries you and one which you have to create by your own efforts, over and over.

In a healthier ritual, you can have a strong priestly role without this paradox, by having the priest just do his business with and in alternation with the congregation, not foregrounding his role by turning him into a cheerleader. But of course, no one's gonna ask me about that anymore.

Endless options and tons of words and text alternatives and expansions make for disorganized, sloppy, shallow, anxious and distracting worship.

The Boomer experts over at Pray Tell are upset that US Catholics are not upset about the new translation. They are getting the impression that the people in the pews don't really pay attention to the words. Duh. I coulda told them that.

Most Catholics don't really like to sing much in church, --although I remember very clearly that people used to belt out Pange Lingua and Tantum Ergo and Holy God We Praise Thy Name at Benediction long ago--- despite a half century of cheerleading, cajoling, etc. So why not just leave them alone? Let the cantor and the choir do all that.

The liturgistas are still mesmerized by the Vatican II groovy mantra about "full, conscious and active participation" when the reality always has been "partial, semiconscious and passive participation". And that's not such a bad thing. Unless you're a cheerleader.

PS I never liked the Gloria. Never provoked either imagination, thought, image or feeling in me. Just some dead text you had get thru. Like the whole messy entrance rites of the Roman Mass. Now the Te Deum, that was something you could engage with. But it's long. And stuck in the Office.

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